Local Prosecutor Calls For Execution By Firing Squad After Complaints From Human Rights Activists

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Law enforcement should use firing squads for capital punishment, Joe Deters, the head prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ohio, said Thursday.

His urgent suggestions are in response to received appeals against state-imposed executions, which Deters believes make the fatal penalty process “too damn long,” according to WLWT5. Specifically, Deter reacted to a stay of execution request from convicted murderer Robert Van Hook, which was subsequently denied. Van Hook is charged with strangling and stabbing a man in 1985 and is now expected to be killed by lethal injection Wednesday.

Deters complains that there are too many activists out there opposing him and his department’s work.

“This game that they constantly play is so frustrating,” Deters told WLWT5, seemingly referencing the protesters. “We had an electric chair. They said that was too cruel, which the courts have found is not, by the way. Then we went to the lethal injection. Now they say that’s cruel.”

Deter said resistance to their mortal techniques is due to a lack of an understanding, but added that he’s willing to revert back to an old tactic.

“People need to understand. We are killing someone, OK. This is not supposed to be a pleasant experience. They are being executed,” Deters continued, according to WLWT5. “So, as far as I’m concerned, bring back the firing squad. It’s constitutional and just end it right now.”

States that allow execution by firing squad —  which for law enforcement purposes is when a group of armed officials collectively shoot a convict — are Utah, Mississippi and Oklahoma, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

However, it is only authorized in Mississippi and Oklahoma if lethal injection, electrocution, and noxious gas inhalation aren’t available or doable options. For Utah, only the unavailability of lethal injection is required for a firing squad death sentence.

Utah had suspended the use of firing squad for some time, but reinstated it as an option in 2015 only a couple years after Deter shared similar sentiments to ones shared Thursday.

Hamilton County issues and enforces the most capital punishment penalties in all of Ohio’s 88 counties, WLWT5 reports. (RELATED: Lawyers: Arkansas Prisoner On Death Row Too Fat To Be Executed)

“They ought to just bring back the firing squad — I don’t care,” Deter said in 2013, according to NPR. “If they’re going to have a death penalty in Ohio, they should carry it out. And if you don’t want it, get rid of it. That’s fine with me.”

The American Civil Liberties Union describes such a method of execution as “savage” and “inhumane.”

And many think the same of other forms, seemingly leaving no death penalty procedure as widely accepted.

A twice-convicted killer in Nevada was set to be executed through a reported sedative drug Wednesday, but still lives after the court halted the process just hours before it was administered. The manufacturer of the drug intervened, according to the Associated Press, because it didn’t want its product used for “botched” executions, something that has occurred multiple times before.

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